WVDEP Shuts Down Dangerous Wellpad and Cites an Illegal Flare

by Dee Fulton on December 16, 2011

Chesapeake Ordered to Stop Operating Well Pad

Citing an “imminent danger” to people, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ordered Chesapeake Energy to stop operating at the Ray Baker well pad in southern Marshall County,”reports Casey Junkins of The Intelligencer. “This is the same pad the DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers are requiring Chesapeake to repair because of slipping soil and “discharging pollutants into the adjacent stream.”

The well pad has been the subject of previous citations.  It was cited in February of this year for polluting the waters of the state and cited again in October for posing an “imminent danger.”  Chesapeake spokesperson Stacey Brodak said that the company had stopped work on the wells before the WVDEP’s December 7th closure order.  Stabilization of the well pad is expected to take a year.

Illegal Flare in Nicholas County

A particularly long lived flare in Nicholas County near Richwood was cited for lack of a permit.  The flare stack and the three wells that feed to it are operated by Texas-based Bluescape Resources Company (BRB). It is reported by C.V. Moore, Register Herald reporter, that the flare had been burning illegally since August for 108 days! A citizens group called STand Up Now (STUN) alerted the DEP to the problem.

BRB protests that they had previously received verbal assurances from two WVDEP officials that the flare did not need a permit. “BRC applied for an after-the-fact air quality permit on Nov. 16, but it has not yet been issued,” Moore reported.  BRB argues that the economic viability of the project has not been established to explain why there isn’t a pipeline in place to collect the vented gas rather than flaring the gas and releasing carbon dioxide, methane, and other pollutants to the atmosphere.

BRB could potentially be liable for fines of $10,000 per day.  There are ‘negotiations’ going on with the WVDEP’s Division of Air Quality.

For the full story, Click Here.

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